Today we keep walking…limping…brokenhearted. We go deeper into that dark, scary place where beauty, terror, and hope all dwell. The gentle sheikh reminds, “We know the state of the world. Our hope doesn’t mean we pretend.”
We see the one-sided control over movement, economy, and property. We will not pretend we don’t.
We see the bulldozers flattening houses on land once agreed was off-limits. We will not pretend we don’t.
We see the border closings killing the sick children, mothers, and fathers. We will not pretend we don’t.
We see the laser-guided missiles reducing houses to rubble, leaving whole neighborhoods in shambles. We will not pretend we don’t.
We see the starving and the homeless as they stand in the rubble, not having any place to go. We will not pretend we don’t.
We see the bodies broken and burning after the missiles have been guided and the jets are long gone. We will not pretend we don’t.
We see the screaming mothers picking up the broken, burning bodies after the missiles have been guided and the jets are long gone. We will not pretend we don’t.
We see the sobbing fathers helping the screaming mothers pick up the broken, burning bodies after the missiles have been guided and the jets are long gone. We will not pretend we don’t.
We see the intentionally orphaned and widowed. We will not pretend we don’t.
Yes, we see the ethnic cleansing. Yes, we see the genocide. And no! We will not pretend we don’t. No, we will not pretend.
But we do, and will, hope. It’s that very hope that strengthens us to keep yelling from the depths of our souls to the highest of the heavens, “Enough!!!” It’s that hope that builds between us a new sort of wall—not like the ones in the photos, impregnable and manned with soldiers brandishing automatic weapons and sniper rifles. No, our wall has a door in it, the outside of which is admittedly chastisement, but the inside of which is always compassion (Qur’an 57:13).
And God sends the reassurance that God has always held accountable those whom God loves. God reminds us that a covenant means obligation. It means that one who is in covenant must do certain things and must not do certain things. The Tanakh—the scriptures accepted by our Jewish and Christian brothers and sisters—are full of voices reminding of this, especially for the family in covenant with God. For every wicked leader, there was a voice crying out, “Enough!!!” And for every accepted leader, there was a voice crying out “Enough!” This is what the scriptures explain, and such is the mercy and long-suffering of God. God expects more of those whom God loves; so the scriptures show.
What's more, during the reigns when the voices from within weren’t heard or, worse, were silenced, the definitive word often came from without. Such is the mercy of the God of the universes—all the universes.
A wise sheikh once cautioned. Worse than the reproach of God is God leaving one alone to do what one wills. Pray God never gives up on us humans such that we are left to do what we will.
May we live beyond reproach but never convince ourselves we are. May God never abandon us to our egos, whims, or desires—no matter what our lineages might be. Not even for the blink of an eye. And may we accept the reproaches of our injustices and cruelty, whether they are warnings from within or without, as a sign that God loves us and hasn't given up on us. Ameen.